Where Moth and Rust

Winner of the J.F. Powers Short fiction contest

Kristin Luehr

The siren that announces the all clear sounds just as desperate as the one that sent us into hiding. The nurse gives Merrill Ann an orange bottle of pain killers and then we all pile back in the car and drive, by silent agreement, west of town to the farm.

If it wasn’t for the houses missing pieces of siding and the tree limbs scattered like toothpicks, the whole thing would feel impossible. The clouds have gone from green back to gray and are already beginning to break up in places, though the rain is still falling.

Driving up the lane, we can already see exactly what we don’t want to see: the house is gone. [Read more…]

This Trip

Richard Cole

Third day of the hurricane
and the whole world is flooded,
people huddled on rooftops,
and that’s how the father and son
arrive, in an outboard,
and the people clamber down,
stiff-legged, shivering, so many souls
loading the boat that the son says
I’ll get out and he trades places
with the last ones so all are saved
this trip. The father nods, [Read more…]

Cistels/Reeds

Anno Domini 1098
Vickie Cimprich

What did you go out into the wilderness
to see? A reed swaying in the breeze?
No? Then what did you go out to
see? Matthew 11: 7

Mud rushes sway
in the wind. Marsh skin prickles
under water strider feet. [Read more…]

Beatrice of Nazareth 1200-1268

in memoriam, Roger De Ganck, O.C.S.O.
Vickie Cimprich

1. The worker bee

Christ smells nectar
in the south wind of divine grace
and flies to Beatrice at Florival.

2. Sleep

comes to Beatrice at once
on wood or stone pillows. [Read more…]

Sleeping with St. Joseph

Mike Bonifas

Yesinia waves from the classroom window. She is six years old and smiling and she presses her forehead to the pane. Jorge, her brother, makes his mouth a swirling glob of flesh and spit beneath the glass. They draw back and laugh. Abel rests the weed-whacker on his hip and touches his palm to the pane. First Jorge, then Yesinia, spread their fingers against his. They giggle and Abel smiles and the children run off and Abel gets back to work. Ten years ago, he and his mother exchanged the same gesture at Hall County Jail. The glass was thick, the light harsh. Soon after that cold farewell, she left Quanah to work poultry barns in North Carolina. [Read more…]

The Keyboard at Majorca

Joseph O’Brien

Between November 8, 1838 and February 13, 1839, Frederic Chopin accompanied George Sand and her two children Solange and Maurice to Majorca to restore his failing health. Met with a growing animosity by the Majorcan natives who soon realized this couple was not married, Chopin and Sand were forced to take up residence in an abandoned Carthusian monastery on the island outside the town of Valldemossa. Considered one of his most productive periods of composition, these three months on Majorca yielded some of Chopin’s most exquisite compositions—including his best preludes, ballades, and polonaises. [Read more…]

Project Rachel

Amanda Nowakowski

The mass was for us and the
dead that never left us. We were
seated in the radiating chapels
near the altar and didn’t look

at each other. The cardinal processed
the nave with his army of bishops,
priests, and the local deacon. The dead
hadn’t made it past the day we lay [Read more…]

Book Review: In the Custody of Words: Poems

Billy Middleton

In the Custody of Words: Poems
by Philip C. Kolin
Franciscan University Press, 2013.

Philip C. Kolin’s new chapbook In the Custody of Words begins with a Latin epigraph of the opening lines from the Last Gospel: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” The importance of words and language as a fundamental element of creation informs this collection. God, as creator, is the divine wielder of words. [Read more…]